Monday, June 5, 2023


‘She Never Put Herself First–a Giver’: Heartbroken Friends Mourn Woman Killed in Boat Tragedy

Before 50-year-old Princess Mills drowned, the preacher and teacher often traversed the northern islands to spread the gospel message, after teaching students in Family and Consumer Studies at SC Bootle High School.

When friends and family found out that she died tragically after a boat in which she was a passenger overturned early Thursday morning, they were in disbelief.

“I tried not to believe this as I fought internally with so many emotions…This is a tough pill to swallow,” cousin Elon Elcaro said.

“My beautiful, anointed, powerful, rare, phenomenal, supernatural, believing cousin,” he lamented.

Mills was in Freeport for a church service where she danced and preached, after which, she called a ferry boat to carry her back to Abaco where she planned to spend the Easter holidays with her husband and son in Moore’s Island.

But before she could arrive, the 20ft Grady boat capsized. Mill’s lifeless body was found floating near the vessel as the 19-year-old boat captain who always ferried her to the various islands, was found clinging to the vessel after 2 am.

Her father Jonathan Stuart reminisced, “Everybody really loved her.”

Stuart helped her load the boat with her belongings before her departure from McClean’s Town, after which she kissed him and said, “Daddy I’ll see you when you get home.”

Friend Terrece Isabella who also taught at SC Bootle High School said it was typical of Mills to take boat rides at night to partake in various church services in Marsh Harbour, Eleuthera and Freeport.

“There were no seasons in my life in the last 20-plus years, that she didn’t show up, and show up she did.

“Princess [Mills] was gentle, radical in faith, sacrificial and motherly. I witnessed Princess giving people the last that she had. Oftentimes, people were quick to take advantage of her generosity and loving nature, without regard for her sacrifices.

Isabella said Mills was the epitome of selflessness. “She fed and provided for those she believed needed her.

“She never put herself first. It was just Princess—a giver.”

Former student, Devon Cooper said, “This cut me deep. From high school, I always knew her to be an example of a true woman of God.”

While another student Krizstina Rutherford described her as “the best Home Economic teacher anyone could possibly ask for.”


In Pictures: Hurricane Nicole Spurs Extensive Flooding in Abaco and GB

Nicole battered Abaco and Grand Bahama with extensive flooding. The tropical storm strengthened to a category 1 hurricane when it hit the northwestern islands.

Images of flooding circulated on social media as Nicole moved over Grand Bahama with winds of 75mph on Wednesday.

The Bahamas Department of Meteorology reported a nearly 4-foot (1.2 meters) storm surge north of the town of Treasure Cay on Abaco where some residents sought refuge in storm shelters.

Nicole follows the devastations left behind by Hurricane Dorian which hit Abaco and GB in 2019.

Before officials gave the all-clear for Andros, Eleuthera and New Providence, ocean waves crashed onto the streets in western New Providence.

Nicole landed in Florida on Wednesday night, slamming the east coast, and washing away some backyards and buildings.


Waters flood the Fishing Hole Road in Grand Bahama (Photo credit: Nema)

Abaconians seek shelter in Hurricane centers (Photo credit: Silbert Mills)

Flood water rise in Abaco

Photo credit: Jason McIntosh

Effects of Hurricane Nicole felt in western New Providence (Photo credit: Keith Gomez)
(Photo credit: Keith Gomez)
(Photo credit: Keith Gomez)

Featured Image: Keith Gomez of Freelance Media Group

Abaco and GB Prepare for Another Hit as Nicole Churns to a Hurricane and is Enroute to the Bahamas

Tropical Storm Nicole is evolving and is churning towards the northern Bahamas before it heads to Florida.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Abaco, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama with a tropical storm warning for Andros Island, New Providence and Eleuthera.

Eliane Hall, who works at a hotel in Great Abaco island, told CNBC that islanders were queuing at gas stations and grocery stores preparing for the storm’s arrival.

“We just boarded it up,” she said of the hotel.

Abaco and Grand Bahama were devastated by Hurricane Dorian in 2019 when category 5 winds struck the islands. Experts worry that communities in these areas will receive a direct hit from Nicole.

Capt. Stephen Russell, emergency management authority director said, “We don’t have time to beg and plead for persons to move.”

Meteorologists said the storm has a “very large cyclonic envelope.”

The storm’s track shifted slightly north overnight, but it’s path is uncertain as it approaches Florida, where it is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Tropical storm conditions are expected in the Bahamas by Tuesday tonight or early Wednesday.

Airports and seaports will close as the storm nears and not reopen until Thursday, and they urged people in shantytowns to seek secure shelter.

Hurricane warnings were issued for a portion of Florida’s Atlantic Coast, from Boca Raton to north of Daytona Beach. Tropical storm warnings are in place for other parts of the Florida coast, all the way to Altamaha Sound, Georgia. The warning area also stretches inland, covering Florida’s Lake Okeechobee, with tropical storm watches in effect on the state’s Gulf Coast — from Bonita Beach in southwest Florida to the Ochlockonee River in the Panhandle.


Scenes From Hurricane Dorian: Remembering the Killer Storm 3 Years Later

Today marks the third anniversary of the passage of Hurricane Dorian over the Bahamas.

On September 1, 2019, the monstrous storm caused widespread devastation in Grand Bahama and Abaco and killed many residents on these islands.

Many people remain missing.

Here is a look back at this emotional period in Bahamian history as many Bahamians and Haitian migrants still struggle to regain a normal life some three years later.


Abaco Plane Crash Kills All Onboard

Officials have confirmed the death of two pilots onboard a plane that crashed in Treasure Cay, Abaco on Monday afternoon.

According to the Nassau Guardian, police said the pilots onboard the plane “perished.”

The plane crash occurred sometime after 3:30 and is seen in a video, fully engulfed in flames.

Abaco reporter Silbert Mills showed the burning wreck of the plane as smoke billowed from the brushes where the plane plummeted.

The victims onboard the plane are believed to be Jason Allen and Lavan Paul.

According to the Nassau Guardian, Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said the plane arrived from The Dominican Republic and was headed to Nassau.


A flight tracker shows that the pilots left The Dominican Republic on Friday at 2:03 in the afternoon and arrived in Treasure Cay, Abaco an hour and 42 minutes later where they stopped over.

The tracker shows that the pilots were expected to leave Abaco for Nassau at two o’clock on Monday.

According to police, Abaco officers discovered the burning wreckage in bushes some distance away from the Treasure Cay Airport.

Police said its initial report indicates that the airplane was seen taxiing and a short time later, smoke and fire were seen billowing from the plane.

The cause of the crash remains unknown.

Abaco to See Tightening of Curfew as COVID-19 Infections Climb

The restrictions in Abaco will be tightened to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 on that island.

According to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, health officials recommend that the curfew for that island be readjusted from 8 pm to 5 am.

Minnis said there is “no outbreak” on the island but the restrictions are to curtail infections.

State of play

It was discovered that –

  • a few cases of COVID-19 were found at the Murphy Town Primary School in Central Abaco;
  • four (4) positive cases originated from a construction site; and
  • six (6) cases were confirmed to have originated from the Marsh Harbour Clinic.

Currently, no cases were reported in Sandy Point, and eleven tests are pending.

Contact tracing activities are ongoing, and the relevant staff will be placed in quarantine or isolation as required.

Consequently, the Marsh Harbour Clinic has undergone deep cleaning and sanitization and the Marsh Harbour Clinic remains open for service.

A team from the Surveillance Unit in New Providence has been dispatched to initiate contact tracing and to determine the level of exposure to the employees of the clinic and visiting clients.

Three nurses have been sent as support staff to the Marsh Harbour Clinic and two more nurses are expected to arrive soon. As it stands, there is a sufficient number of physicians on the island to manage the COVID-19 cases.

Extension of VAT and Duty Free Concessions for GB and Abaco

Minister of State for Finance and for Grand Bahama, Kwasi Thompson announced that Grand Bahama and Abaco residents wishing to replace their motor vehicles that were destroyed during Hurricane Dorian, are still able to do so under the VAT and Duty-free concessions.

However, those vehicles will have to be purchased before January 31, 2021. This is an extension to the concession, which expired on December 31st, 2020.

Why it matters

In the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Dorian in September of 2019, the government designated the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, as ‘Special Economic Recovery Zones.’

Within those zones, residents were allowed duty-free and VAT-free concessions, as well as business license concessions.

Other concessions were extended due to COVID-19 pandemic for those individuals who were unable to take advantage of the concessions previously. The extension was set to expire on December 31, 2020. However, certain aspects of the concessions were extended beyond December 31, 2020 for building materials, equipment and furniture.

What he says

“We have listened to the public and we’ve taken the further decision that if you purchase your vehicles on or before January 31st, 2021 and that vehicle arrives in the Bahamas by April 2021, you will be able to take advantage of the duty-free concession,” said Thompson.

“We’ve also made the decision that we would continue to put in place a zero-rated VAT concession for construction services,” added Thompson. “This is important, because not only will you be able to get customs duty-free building materials, but also for the contractor’s service, you will be able to take advantage of the zero-rated VAT concession. We want to do what we can to keep the cost of construction as low as possible and that is the reason why we have extended that concession. It has been extended to June of 2021. So, we want to tell residents in Grand Bahama and Abaco that they can take advantage of these concessions.”

“This is important because construction continues to be an important part of our rebuilding efforts in Grand Bahama and Abaco,” added Thompson.

Abaco Man Charged With Killing Mother of 7

A 27-year old man was charged with the killing of Abaco resident Angelita Pritchard.

Barry Swain appeared before Senior Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis to face manslaughter charges. It is alleged he killed 35-year-old Prichard during a domestic dispute.

Swain, represented by Christina Galanos, was not required to enter a plea to the charge. He was remanded to the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services.

Police found the mother of seven on December 26th, unresponsive in a bedroom of her home and have since listed the cause of death as asphyxia.

In a social media post, Pritchard and Swain publicly declared their love for each other. Pritchard said Swain was her “gift from God.” He returns called Pritchard, his “queen.”

Swain returns to court on March 3.

Since the killing, appeals were made to assist the children of the woman. Baby items, canned goods, and clothing can be donated to the family through the Evergreen Mortuary Services. Monetary donations can be made to Joicelin Rusell at Commonwealth Bank, account number 7044103271.


Govt Extends Tax Concessions for Grand Bahama and Abaco to June 2021

The government will extend the tax concessions under the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (Special Economic Recovery Zone) for Abaco and Grand Bahama to June 2021.

Why it matters

  • Many of the provisions were set to expire on December 31, 2020.
  • The local sale and importation of household furniture, furnishings, and appliances will continue to be tax-free.
  • The tax relief measures were designated for Grand Bahama and the Abacos following the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Dorian.

What Minister of State for Finance says

  • Senator Kwasi Thompson said, “To further assist persons and businesses who are still recovering, and are now grappling further with COVID-19, the government has agreed to extend a number of tax relief measures to June 2021.”
  • He noted that the government also recognizes that rebuilding takes time, and the reconstruction of damaged homes continues.
  • Furthermore, the government is extending the opportunity to receive a discount on the VAT payable on the sale of real property for transactions valued up to $500,000.
  • He said the government recognizes as well that vehicles that have been ordered may not arrive in the country by the end of December. The government will honour the current tax concession on replacement vehicles, provided that there is documentary evidence that it has been shipped by December 31, 2020, and provided that it arrives by April 30, 2021.

State of play

  • Government revenues are down by as much as 50 percent, but the government says it is ensuring that it still does as much as possible to cushion the economic blow for islands experiencing hardship.

All You Need to Know About New Restrictions for NP, Abaco and Eleuthera

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis loosened restrictions for New Providence and Abaco, while tightening measures for Eleuthera.

Why it matters

The number of COVID-19 cases in New Providence and Abaco has slowed and health officials say they are encouraged by the decrease, while cases have heightened in Eleuthera, causing concern as the island battle 117 cases.

Key points

New Providence and Abaco

  • The 24-hour weekend curfew was lifted on New Providence and Abaco, replaced with a 6 pm to 5 am curfew on weekends.
  • Beginning tomorrow, Monday 9th, a new weekday curfew imposed from 9 pm to 5 am  in NP and Abaco. The curfew will be implemented in Grand Bahama on weekdays and weekends.
  • Retail businesses and pharmacies can begin in-store services, Monday to Saturday.
  • Grocery stores can reopen to the public on Saturdays, restocking on Sundays.
  • Arawak Cay can restart outdoor dining Monday to Friday.
  • Hotels can resume in-door dining.
  • Beaches and parks are opened to the public on weekends from 5 am to 6 pm. Groups are still limited to 5 people.


Excludes Spanish Wells and Harbour Island

  • Effective this week, a 24-hour weekend curfew will begin at 6 pm every Friday to 5 am every Monday.
  • A daily curfew will be imposed from 6 pm to 5 am.
  • Businesses can operate during the week but can not operate on weekends.
  • Bars and restaurants will be closed.
  • Funerals and weddings are restricted to 10 people, excluding officiant; graveside services permitted only; no wedding receptions permitted.
  • No indoor church services allowed.
  • No in-person classes permitted.

Featured image: OPM Communications Unit